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IT's Last Hope — a Job In the Boonies?

timothy posted about 4 years ago | from the hi-from-bustling-harrisburg-pa dept.

Businesses 470

GMGruman writes "Offshoring, cloud computing, automation, 'do more with less' — all of these have been chipping away at US IT workers' ability to have a job. But some companies now dangle a new possibility: Move to rural areas for lower-paying 'onshoring' jobs that can compete with lower overseas salaries. InfoWorld's Bob Violino talked to IT workers who've made the move and discovered that although it's no 'Green Acres meets Big Bang Theory' experience, a move from the big city to the hinterlands appeals mainly to just some IT worker segments, even as it provides new opportunities for others."

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I'd rather make peanuts telecommuting (5, Insightful)

drinkypoo (153816) | about 4 years ago | (#33897424)

Rather than take a crappy on-site job somewhere, I'd rather have an even crappier off-site one... and a lower cost of living. No commute whatsoever is a big feature.

Re:I'd rather make peanuts telecommuting (3, Insightful)

cayenne8 (626475) | about 4 years ago | (#33897512)

Hmm..possibly cleaner water, healthier foods....and a chick population that hasn't been exposed to as many STD's and city girls???

Re:I'd rather make peanuts telecommuting (1)

cayenne8 (626475) | about 4 years ago | (#33897540)

Oops...supposed to be "and a chick population that hasn't been exposed to as many STD's as city girls (have) ???

Re:I'd rather make peanuts telecommuting (5, Informative)

jeffmeden (135043) | about 4 years ago | (#33897692)

Oops...supposed to be "and a chick population that hasn't been exposed to as many STD's as city girls (have) ???

Either way you say it, you truly must never have visited the heartland... clean water and untainted women are NOT its strong suit.

Re:I'd rather make peanuts telecommuting (3, Informative)

interkin3tic (1469267) | about 4 years ago | (#33897784)

clean water and untainted women are NOT its strong suit.

Hey man, if you can't taste the chlorine, how do you know it's clean?!?

(For those of you who have never been to a small town, the local water treatment plant often isn't up to our city slicker standards for taste)

Re:I'd rather make peanuts telecommuting (3, Interesting)

i.r.id10t (595143) | about 4 years ago | (#33897920)

Because I pump it out of my well, that is tapped into the same aquifer that several water bottling companies use....

Re:I'd rather make peanuts telecommuting (3, Insightful)

saider (177166) | about 4 years ago | (#33898186)

Hopefully you have the same water filtration scheme as the bottling companies.

Re:I'd rather make peanuts telecommuting (2, Informative)

Andy Dodd (701) | about 4 years ago | (#33897820)

I definately agree on this one. As someone who lives in a semi-rural area, the more rural you get, the more single mothers you tend to find...

Re:I'd rather make peanuts telecommuting (0, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#33897884)

That's a low UID.... How come you still don't know this? [d-e-f-i-n-i-t-e-l-y.com]

Re:I'd rather make peanuts telecommuting (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#33898162)

Go fuck yourself. I hate grammar Nazis.

This message has been brought to you by the PAC to get Anonymous Coward elected.

Re:I'd rather make peanuts telecommuting (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#33898296)

That wasn't a grammar mistake, idiot. If you can't pay attention to small, simple bits of information, why should I think you can handle big stuff?

Re:I'd rather make peanuts telecommuting (1)

interkin3tic (1469267) | about 4 years ago | (#33897734)

"and a chick population that hasn't been exposed to as many STD's as city girls (have) ???

Not sure which small city you're thinking of, but some of the ones I've lived in have suffered from the "abstinence only sex ed." I don't know if city women are generally more or less chaste than country women, but I do know that "small town values" don't really exist, they definitely don't extend to premarital sex (thank God, there's little else to do there), and urban females are more likely to know what a condom is.

If you do happen to live in a small town where the women don't have sex... I'm sorry.

Re:I'd rather make peanuts telecommuting (4, Insightful)

Hylandr (813770) | about 4 years ago | (#33897912)

Personally I have noticed smaller towns to be overrun with crack/meth houses and all the sex \ crime / and domestic abuse that you hear about from big cities. It happens on a larger scale "per capita" by a huge scale. The big cities have all the programs and resources to combat that kind of thing. Small town gov bare shows up for work during the week.

- Dan.

Re:I'd rather make peanuts telecommuting (1)

cayenne8 (626475) | about 4 years ago | (#33897928)

"and urban females are more likely to know what a condom is."

Hmm...maybe that is a point in the country girls' favor....you get to go 'bareback' more often??

I mean, fucking with a rubber is kind of like eating a fine steak with one on your tongue.

You know there is some kind of really pleasant sensation going on out there, but you're just not feeling it at all...

Re:I'd rather make peanuts telecommuting (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#33898128)

A more appropriate sig there never was :-P

Re:I'd rather make peanuts telecommuting (1)

saider (177166) | about 4 years ago | (#33898238)

Except that the fine steak was dropped behind the counter and landed in a pile of rat crap, picking up some "exotic spices".

Re:I'd rather make peanuts telecommuting (3, Funny)

rhsanborn (773855) | about 4 years ago | (#33898282)

Except the steak isn't likely to show up 9 months later and demand child support.

Re:I'd rather make peanuts telecommuting (4, Informative)

dave562 (969951) | about 4 years ago | (#33897688)

You might need to re-evaluate your notion of life in the boonies. Everyone I've known who has grown up in Bum Frick Nowhere has the same story... the only thing to do is drink and have sex. By the time people are done with high school, they have pretty much slept with everyone else in town. Although come to think of it, moving to the boonies would have the benefit of fresh meat syndrome. You'd be the one person everyone hadn't yet slept with, so you'd have your pick.

I don't think that the article is talking about the real boonies though. Any place that is large enough to maintain a good sized IT operation isn't the kind of boonies that I'm talking about.

Re:I'd rather make peanuts telecommuting (5, Insightful)

pnuema (523776) | about 4 years ago | (#33897780)

You're right; to an 18 year old, the boonies suck. To a 35 year old, the peace and quiet and the lower cost of living are hugely attractive. So what if there is no night life? I've got a four year old. I'm too fucking tired to go out.

Re:I'd rather make peanuts telecommuting (2, Insightful)

LordNimon (85072) | about 4 years ago | (#33897838)

I've got a four year old. I'm too fucking tired to go out.

You'll be sorry in 10 years, when your daughter is the one screwing all the guys because she's bored.

Re:I'd rather make peanuts telecommuting (5, Insightful)

Pharmboy (216950) | about 4 years ago | (#33898054)

I'm pretty sure that the likelihood of his daughter becoming a sleaze is more related to how much time he spends helping her build confidence and esteem, than it is to how far they live from Chucky Cheese and a water park.

Re:I'd rather make peanuts telecommuting (1)

dave562 (969951) | about 4 years ago | (#33897926)

I understand where you are coming from. I live in Southern California and am looking forward to eventually moving to Oregon. (Now before all the Oregonians give me crap, my parents grew up there and I have a lot of family in the area. I'm not one of "those" Californians who is going up there and screwing up all of the property values.)

If you are good at what you do in IT, you have some flexibility. I work with AT&T and Dell a lot. Their reps are always working from home. Even my co-workers are often bouncing from office to office, or working from home.

Re:I'd rather make peanuts telecommuting (3, Informative)

snspdaarf (1314399) | about 4 years ago | (#33898080)

Lower cost of living? Ha! I am in a rural area, gas is 10 cents more per gallon than any place around because the fuel distributors all drink coffee together each morning and decide what the price of gas will be. Food is about 25 percent more locally because there is only one supermarket, and there are umpteen different taxing entities to pay off each year. Insurance is more, everything you really want or need is 40+ miles away, and housing is either a castle or an outhouse. If there is a lower cost of living in a rural area, it is not enough to make it the main reason to take a job there.

Re:I'd rather make peanuts telecommuting (1)

DrgnDancer (137700) | about 4 years ago | (#33898320)

For the best cost of living "Bang for the buck" midsized towns seem to be the way to go. I live in Huntsville, AL. Population is around 500,000 for the metro area. Our property values and insurance rates are perhaps slightly higher than in a rural area, but nothing like the "big city", but the town is plenty large enough to not have "small town monopoly" syndrome. There's also a bit of night life, and Nashville isn't far.

I still prefer big city living myself, but I can definitely see the benefits to a place like this. True rural living would make me crazy in short order I think.

Re:I'd rather make peanuts telecommuting (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#33898334)

As a bit of irony there I live down in the valley (which one I'll let you guess.), and going about 20-30 miles up the interstate into the hills, gas actually DROPS in price by up to 20 cents per gallon. I have no idea the specific reason, but right off the highway it's actually CHEAPER to fill up there than it is to fill up in the city.

And this has been true for multiple trips over the past 5 years (often go up there to drive. More interesting roads, and MUCH fewer cops. Just don't go during the usual 'cruise' seasons. That's when the cops park up in the hills and ticket people over 'timed runs' :D)

Re:I'd rather make peanuts telecommuting (2, Insightful)

Fulcrum of Evil (560260) | about 4 years ago | (#33897728)

What makes you think that? A friend pointed out that, given the amount of sleeping around in our local scenes, any STD would be rampant. Of course, that's perhaps not the common case.

Never mind that every time I go to a small town, they're playing country and I HATE country.

Re:I'd rather make peanuts telecommuting (1)

Profane MuthaFucka (574406) | about 4 years ago | (#33897844)

I don't know where you grew up, but it's so boring in the country the girls fuck for fun. That's why it's called the country. It literally is cunts growing on trees.

Re:I'd rather make peanuts telecommuting (1)

qoncept (599709) | about 4 years ago | (#33897776)

Where do you live that you think a commute in a smaller city is even a factor? The average household income here is about $44k. A decent 2000sqft house can be had for $150k. My commute (from outside of town) is about 10 minutes, and a lot of people live closer than that. You can easily find a job making at least $60k. If you can't make it in in the winter sometimes, you can work from home.

Re:I'd rather make peanuts telecommuting (4, Insightful)

Pharmboy (216950) | about 4 years ago | (#33898004)

I live in the Piedmont Triad area of NC, (1.6 million people) [wikipedia.org] . I just moved south to a town of 20k people and commute to work instead, so I drive 1.5 to 2 hours per day total, vs. .75 to 1.0 hour before the move. The cost of homes is about 25% cheaper. Restaurants are 25-35% cheaper, plentiful and less crowded. Most everything is cheaper, enough so to offset the additional gas.

If I could find a job here that paid somewhat less but I could drive to work in 10-15 minutes, then yes I would consider it in a skippy minute. I wouldn't want to live in a town of 20k people out in the middle of nowhere, but I'm still less than 30 minutes from downtown Winston-Salem (230k) or High Point (105k), less than 45 minutes to most of Greensboro (260k), and 1 hour from the Charlotte area (1.8 million) so every possible convenience is less than an hour away.

There are significant advantages to moving to a smaller town if you can find decent work, even if it doesn't pay as much. Or commute if it is reasonable. The cost of living is often cheap enough to offset the difference in pay, particularly when you consider the upper end of your tax bracket means that losing $10k in pay doesn't mean losing $10k of bring home pay. Maybe a single 21 year old male wouldn't make the move, but those of us married and over 30 (I'm over 40) see some advantages. Many people also like the idea of raising kids in a more rural setting, and a slower pace of life once you get home. As long as you are relatively close to the other city benefits, it is not as steep of a price as you might think.

Re:I'd rather make peanuts telecommuting (1)

Nethead (1563) | about 4 years ago | (#33898300)

I did the same thing. Moved away from Seattle north about 35 miles to Indian Country.

http://www.marysvilletulalipchamber.com/images/image008_001.jpg [marysville...hamber.com]

I don't mind the commute when I know I have views like this to come home to. Like you, I'm pushing 50 so the bright lights of the city don't do that much for me. And when I get the urge we've got the casino to go to.

I give up (3, Interesting)

religious freak (1005821) | about 4 years ago | (#33897430)

I don't know about you guys but after 10+ years of stagnant wages and fierce competition from India that shows no signs of subsiding, I'm finding a new career path...

Re:I give up (5, Insightful)

BadAnalogyGuy (945258) | about 4 years ago | (#33897696)

I actually recommend this choice to people whom I have had to let go. It was pretty clear they didn't possess the wherewithal to continue growing and contributing in this industry.

One guy went out and started a consulting business. He advises people on drainage plans for their new homes. As a programmer, he stumbled through the code and introduced as many bugs as he fixed. I think we picked him up as a resource sometime in the late 90s when we were hiring like crazy. 10 years of experience, and the only real thing I think we figured out was that he was a pretty mediocre programmer. But now he is doing very well as a drainage consultant.

You shouldn't stay in a job you suck at. And your manager shouldn't keep you once you've shown no particular aptitude for the work. Go do something you're good at. You'll feel much better about yourself and you won't have the sword of Damocles always hanging above you.

Re:I give up (1)

religious freak (1005821) | about 4 years ago | (#33898016)

Hey, hey now. I didn't say I was good at my job or that I was in fear of losing it. I just think fighting against a stagnant industry takes a lot more energy and yields less results than going into an industry which is growing rapidly.

I think there's something to be said for hopping on the fastest moving train.

Re:I give up (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#33898182)

Hey, hey now. I didn't say I was good at my job or that I was in fear of losing it.

Look at the username of the guy you are replying too. One of the most apt here.

Re:I give up (1)

gmack (197796) | about 4 years ago | (#33898210)

The fastest moving train is often the worst possible one to be on jobs wise since that's where there is a massive crowd all hunting for work.

Re:I give up (1)

Dragon Bait (997809) | about 4 years ago | (#33898286)

I didn't say I was good at my job

Yeah, I think that's the point. 8^)

Re:I give up (1)

gmack (197796) | about 4 years ago | (#33898136)

Ahh yes the 90s when everyone got pushed into computer work. I was still in high school and recall the class full of students who either didn't want to be there or worse yet one poor girl who just didn't have it in her to be a programmer who managed to reduce herself to tears each week because her parents wanted her to be a programmer.

It seems to me that we have managed to come up with a society that pushes people towards trendy jobs and the result is a total overflow of people doing popular jobs poorly while some trades don't have anywhere close to enough people applying even though they often pay better than the trendy jobs.

Re:I give up (1)

WrongSizeGlass (838941) | about 4 years ago | (#33897720)

I don't know about you guys but after 10+ years of stagnant wages and fierce competition from India that shows no signs of subsiding, I'm finding a new career path...

Try working for yourself. Many small business need 'part-time, on-site' IT people who are 'generalists'. If you can handle some networking, server admin, hardware & software trouble shooting, etc, you can do very well for yourself.

Someone who knows what they are talking about & what they are doing can make a big difference to a small business. Small businesses talk and word of mouth will land you more work. You may end up with 5 - 10 hours a month here, 6 - 8 hours a month there, etc, etc, but it adds up and you get to control your workload and who you work for (don't like a client then you help them find someone else who is "better suited to their needs"). It pays the bills, gives you a flexible work schedule and gives you opportunities for remote work for you clients, research into new products or technologies, and many other learning opportunities (making you an even more informed and experienced generalist).

Re:I give up (5, Interesting)

MightyMartian (840721) | about 4 years ago | (#33898154)

I live in a small town (about 13,000 people) and I've found there isn't enough IT expertise. There seems no lack of A+ screw monkeys starting up computer shops, and certainly they can take care of the home market, but there are pretty three guys in town with the ability to maintain VPNs, AD networks, work with *nix systems and so forth, and two of them (myself included) are full time employees, and the third seems to be dropping the ball a lot, judging by the number of calls me and the other guy are getting. I do a bit of work on the side, but my job makes any heavy time investment in actively formulating my own business unfeasible.

Long story short, there are no lack of guys who can flip out video cards, ghost hard drives and set up home WiFi networks, but when you're actually talking about people with some useful networking knowledge, like how to set up domain controllers or build customized routers, they're a lot rarer in small and medium-sized communities. I was talking to a guy in another even smaller town who is making a decent living in a very rural area where none of the towns are over 5,000 people, in part because big resort chains in the area need a reliable IT contractor who can deal with their particular networks and systems, and in part because even a lot of smaller businesses need a bit more than just some turkey who knows what DDR3 RAM looks like.

The bigger picture we should not give up on... (1)

Paul Fernhout (109597) | about 4 years ago | (#33898268)

Something I put together: "Beyond a Jobless Recovery: A heterodox perspective on 21st century economics"
http://knol.google.com/k/paul-d-fernhout/beyond-a-jobless-recovery [google.com]

Essentially, a combination of robotics and other automation, better design, and voluntary social networks (like comment on Slashdot :-) are decreasing the value of most paid human labor, while at the same time demand is limited for a variety of reasons (some classical, like the credit crunch or a concentration of wealth, and some novel like people finally getting too much stuff). In order to move past this, our society needs to emphasize a gift economy (like Wikipedia or Debian GNU/Linux), a basic income (social security for all regardless of age), democratic resource-based planning (with taxes, subsidies, investments, and regulation), and/or stronger local economies that can produce more of their own stuff (with organic gardens, solar panels, green homes, and 3D printers). And there are some bad solutions (endless war, endless schooling, endless prisons, endless bureaucracy, and endless sickness) that we need to try to steer clear of as much as we can.

So, just giving up on IT and trying a new career path is not going to change this bigger picture which effects everyone, and it is a situation caused in part by IT, and ideally should be seen as a great opportunity, not a bad thing. It's just that the 20th century scarcity-based socio-economic paradigm is becoming obsolete in the 21st.

how is this even possible??? (1)

JeanBaptiste (537955) | about 4 years ago | (#33898330)

I'm an idiot and I have jobs thrown at me daily. I'm making six figures and I generally don't wear pants. They keep trying to make me management and I keep saying no because it violates my pants policies.

Better long-term strategy (1)

oldhack (1037484) | about 4 years ago | (#33897468)

Learn a foreign language and migrate.

there's a name for it (2, Funny)

bhcompy (1877290) | about 4 years ago | (#33897486)

It's called Smartshoring. And working from home is called Homeshoring. Can I get WinTheLottoShoring?

Re:there's a name for it (1)

Nadaka (224565) | about 4 years ago | (#33897786)

Stennis space center, one of the largest collections of federal project IT in the gulf south is in the middle of no where Mississippi. Most of my old friends work or have worked there. Bearingpoint inc had a global development center in Hattiesburg, MS that I worked at before they went bust. So yes, this is nothing new.

One other bonus for employers (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#33897520)

One other bonus for employers: less accessibility to other companies for employees to try to interview for better jobs.

Re:One other bonus for employers (1)

Nadaka (224565) | about 4 years ago | (#33897800)

Naw man, you can just move your house to just about any RV park in the US.

Maybe stop surfing /. all day long (0, Troll)

BadAnalogyGuy (945258) | about 4 years ago | (#33897532)

There are lots of jobs around, but employers these days aren't going to put up with someone who is going to surf /. all day long anymore.

What employers want are people who are smart, show potential, have shown growth and progress in their careers, can think as businessmen (as opposed to as "engineers"), and who are at least moderately well groomed.

We had to fire a bunch of people because they just weren't providing an ROI. The resources we have left are smart, capable of understanding our customers, and are focused on doing a great job. We pay very very well, and we haven't had to look overseas for replacements.

If you are still having trouble finding a job, maybe it isn't a time to look elsewhere. It might be time to look inward and figure out what your shortcomings are. Maybe you aren't really suited for an IT job (or any white-collar professional job).

Re:Maybe stop surfing /. all day long (5, Insightful)

Maxo-Texas (864189) | about 4 years ago | (#33897650)

What companies want are cheap slaves. They want to use them like batteries and toss them aside when they get old or sick.

That's why they had laws passed which say labor laws don't apply to computer people (specifically in washington, california, and texas that I know of).

They want 12 hour days.
They don't want to pay benefits.
They want the work to be accurate.

The executives want no employees, yet still want a mass market they can sell to and get big salaries themselves.

That's ending as the mass market hollows out. Increasingly under 1% of the population takes most the money and doesn't share it. They are destroying their own market by not contributing any employee/customers to it.

Re:Maybe stop surfing /. all day long (5, Insightful)

AnonymousClown (1788472) | about 4 years ago | (#33898160)

The executives want no employees, yet still want a mass market they can sell to and get big salaries themselves.

That's ending as the mass market hollows out. Increasingly under 1% of the population takes most the money and doesn't share it. They are destroying their own market by not contributing any employee/customers to it.

They believe that they can sell to developing countries and that will save their asses. Unfortunately for them, they are also under the impression that after off-shoring industrialized manufacturing and development, they will also be the ones making the stuff. Nope, technology will transfer and local firms will take over. Eventually, companies like Intel, GM, and any other big American corp that has moved pretty much overseas (except for mgt) will be made irrelevant. All those foreign scientists, engineers, accountants and other knowledge workers will wise up, start their own firms, and destroy the old stodgy firms.

What will I do? Buy the foreign cheaper products - I have no choice. My standard of living is worse than my Grandfather's. My Grandpa had an eighth grade education, 5 kids, a stay at home wife, middle class home, a car, and had no problem paying the bills. He retired with a great pension and never had to worry about eating, keeping the house, and he still gave out $10,000 a pop to his kids. My Dad supported 3 kids, a house, two cars on one salary. You can't do that anymore.

That American dream is dead, dead, dead.

We're spiraling down to the lowest common denominator: poverty stricken people who will work 14 hour days - 7 days a week and thank their personal god that they can do that because the alternative is far worse.

Re:Maybe stop surfing /. all day long (1)

Applekid (993327) | about 4 years ago | (#33898326)

(+1, Depressingly Informative)

Re:Maybe stop surfing /. all day long (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#33897668)

You can do better than that, how about a car analogy?

Re:Maybe stop surfing /. all day long (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#33897804)

Spoken like someone who has not been rifed. You are not special. I would be willing to bet your managers got in a room and ranked everyone (popularity contest, which is how it usually works) and the dropped off the everyone bellow a magical number line. It is called 'hitting your numbers'. It has 0 to do with ROI and just balancing your budget. I would also be willing to bet there were one or two 'whoopsies' in there and they now are contractors. I have been thru and seen enough rifs in my day to know better that the words you speak are utter BS. can think as businessmen You are still thinking like a engineer in that 'those people must not be worth as much as me'. No, rifs do not work that way. It is usually pains in the asses first, then slackers, then bone, then managers...

I dont know if you have noticed but the market cratered? I see people who put houses up for sale and still havent sold them 2 years later. Its their fault right that only 2 people were interested in the whole 2 years? It is also why you see many companies resizing their organizations. The sales are not there so they do not have as much work to go around. Or have the same amount of work but not enough money to pay everyone. So the company has a choice. Get rid of people or everyone gets to look for a job.

There are lots of jobs around, but employers these days aren't going to put up with someone who is going to surf /. all day long anymore.

and my brain just exploded with the IRONY there and where this was posted...

Re:Maybe stop surfing /. all day long (2, Insightful)

BadAnalogyGuy (945258) | about 4 years ago | (#33897944)

What's surprising? My sales for the last 3 years running have exceeded my annual reach goals and has brought in over 102 million dollars over that period. If there is any reason my employer keeps me, it is because I produce.

When we had to cut costs, it wasn't a purely mathematical decision. We had some people with salaries that weren't in line with their production, but we also looked for personal factors such as eagerness to work, ability to mentor, and the ability to meet with customers without making us look like amateurs. Believe me, there are a lot of people employed as engineers who should *never* be allowed to meet customers. We don't want them here, so we sent them packing.

Your posts reeks of bitterness and a "blame someone else" attitude. You think you deserve a job, but you don't realize that you are the one who must prove your worth to a company.

my brain just exploded with the IRONY there and where this was posted

What better place to say it than to your face?

Re:Maybe stop surfing /. all day long (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#33898298)

The irony is that you are saying "quit surfing ./" while you seem to be doing just that.

Re:Maybe stop surfing /. all day long (2, Insightful)

Monkeedude1212 (1560403) | about 4 years ago | (#33897808)

Then you are misunderstanding the problem entirely. If EVERYONE were a great employee, the need for IT professionals would be even less (because you could do more with less IT professionals) and you'd have even more IT pros out of jobs.

So not everyone is perfect, we get that, that's life. All industries are like that. What seperates IT? It's not like everyone in the sales team has 300% ROI either, but you don't see sales positions being offshored to people in India. That's because your sales person NEEDS to be here. They need to be schmoozing with clients, they need to make the appearance.

Straight up: Not all companies want to pay 10 guys 130K+ a year. Some of them would rather pay 90 people 13K a year. Especially in the positions that simply require bodies: Answering phone calls, debugging, etc.

We went and made Transglobal communication such a simple process that we're now bypassable. Don't get me wrong, IT isn't the only industry that suffers from Offshoring, but it's just ironic that good IT is the reason why it suffers over here.

Re:Maybe stop surfing /. all day long (1)

jedidiah (1196) | about 4 years ago | (#33898260)

If I can "think like a businessman", why would I ever want to be someone else's employee?

That is just stupid. Why put up with being exploited?

Arizona (1)

HomelessInLaJolla (1026842) | about 4 years ago | (#33897544)

Walking east from Phoenix, AZ in December of '08 I encountered a community around some new looking business developments like strip malls and stuff. To the south of the strip malls were housing communities--one hundred, two-fifty, and five hundred and overs. There were probably close to five hundred homes in the area. As I walked around the area from early morning to midafternoon (I was looking for the road to continue east) I realized that there were all of about twelve people currently living in those communities. East of Las Cruces, NM, in the foothills there was a similar area; new communities with close to zero residency. Sometimes I wonder if the entire community was merely an investment; they do not want anyone living there because it would decrease long term returns. The communities in Mesa looked somewhat cookie-cutter. The ones east of Las Cruces were ridiculous; each home was the size of your average supermarket and sat on twenty acres of irrigated and landscaped property... for miles upon miles.

Probably you run of the mill sots will wind up in AZ. Your Levite money managers will have their pick of the good ones.

Then you're a prisoner (0, Flamebait)

Animats (122034) | about 4 years ago | (#33897546)

Manufacturing companies discovered that long ago. Build a big plant in Outer Nowhere (but near an Interstate), become the biggest employer in town, and hire a captive labor force. The employees have nowhere else to go, and you can pay minimum wage and really screw them over. Plus, many small towns will give companies huge tax breaks and otherwise suck up.

Re:Then you're a prisoner (5, Insightful)

John Hasler (414242) | about 4 years ago | (#33897700)

The employees have nowhere else to go, and you can pay minimum wage and really screw them over.

What the hell do you think they were doing before the plant opened? And what do you think prevents them from quitting and moving to the city as rural people have been doing for 150 years? People in towns that these companies move into are free to keep on doing whatever they were doing before the plant opened, or take a job at the plant. That is choice.

Re:Then you're a prisoner (1)

CronoCloud (590650) | about 4 years ago | (#33897806)

In some cases they were sharecropping, that's died out. While admittedly they have choices, there are fewer good viable ones. Basically choices that aren't really choices.

Re:Then you're a prisoner (1)

AvitarX (172628) | about 4 years ago | (#33898036)

I actually read an interesting article that said increased home ownership as of late could slow economic recovery, as people cannot as freely move to where the jobs are at.

Re:Then you're a prisoner (2, Interesting)

Thelasko (1196535) | about 4 years ago | (#33898140)

What the hell do you think they were doing before the plant opened?

Farming

And what do you think prevents them from quitting and moving to the city as rural people have been doing for 150 years?

Lack of money. Farmers are know to be land rich and cash poor.

People in towns that these companies move into are free to keep on doing whatever they were doing before the plant opened, or take a job at the plant.

True, although many people in small towns were on some [wikipedia.org] sort [wikipedia.org] of government aid [wikipedia.org] before the plant opened.

Re:Then you're a prisoner (4, Informative)

Thelasko (1196535) | about 4 years ago | (#33898046)

The employees have nowhere else to go, and you can pay minimum wage and really screw them over.

Worse than that. If the plant closes, everyone scrambles to move to another town. Housing values plummet. The only way to move is to let the bank foreclose on your house. Now your credit is ruined too.

It's a chain reaction seen over and over again in the Midwest. It's why so many country songs are about getting out of a small town.

Arrrg... (4, Insightful)

epiphani (254981) | about 4 years ago | (#33897568)

Offshoring, cloud computing, automation, 'do more with less' — all of these have been chipping away at US IT workers' ability to have a job.

The only thing here that is a problem is offshoring. Cloud computing, automation, and doing more with less is our job.

Plenty of service work in the cities (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#33897588)

Plenty of support demand in the east coast city I live in. They demand physical presence and so far India hasn't setup aircraft carriers off the east coast.

I think considering the boonies is great because more flexible people will do better. But if you are willing to sacrifice your high-level development dreams and do low-level PC grunt work, there are still plenty of clueless lawyers, etc. that need their PCs and networks slaved over.

this post is nonsense (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#33897590)

I have been doing database administration, development and architecture for a decade in the metro Washington, DC area. I am currently in between gigs after I quit a job last month and the phone calls and emails stream in every day for local opportunities. I have a few offers sitting in my inbox and I just started looking a couple of weeks ago. There is still plenty of work for the battled hardened true Jedi.

Re:this post is nonsense (1)

MrLogic17 (233498) | about 4 years ago | (#33898306)

Google for "unemployment rate", and hit the first link. Compare D.C. with the state you live in. Say, Michigan, for example.

Clearly, there's a reason the above AC can find work, and the rest of us don't dare utter "I quit a job last month".

Sounds like a good deal (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#33897600)

As long as they would get me a griffin any time I needed to go in to the office. Shouldn't be too hard in Hinterlands.

Looks like a mixed bag (1)

Infonaut (96956) | about 4 years ago | (#33897602)

The actual article goes into some detail about the tradeoffs, one of which is that moving to the boonies doesn't convey as many cost advantages as some workers expect. I think it's great that more IT folks will be able to work outside the urban centers, but it's certainly no panacea. If you like living in a smaller town, you hate commuting, and you're comfortable being a bit outside the professional mainstream, go for it.

Re:Looks like a mixed bag (2, Informative)

lotaris (34307) | about 4 years ago | (#33897854)

The biggest cost savings is in housing costs. Compare similarly sized places and you'll see a big win. Just don't trade up to a McMansion just because your payments will be similar to what you are doing now. Buy what you can be comfortable in.

Check on property taxes as they are really high in some states/counties and that could be a shock.

An advantage of moving to the suburbs of a smaller city in the hinterland is that you will generally have several options for tech employment.

Some of the small towns with 1 big tech employer will have different salary dynamics.

Re:Looks like a mixed bag (1)

xgr3gx (1068984) | about 4 years ago | (#33897904)

I'm actually looking at doing this in a few years. My company is very flexible with working from home. I really don't need to be onsite, most people in my area don't. I already work from home 2 or 3 days a week. So if can work from home so often, what does it matter where home is, provided I have a fast internet connection? I know 2 people who moved across the country and kept their same job, even the same phone number.
I live in an expensive suburb, and have a 30 mile commute. My wife and I would love to have a small farm with horses and egg chickens. In my town, those animals require a minimum of 3 acres, and 3 acres would probably cost about $120K, with no house.

We can sell our house on ~1 acre , and buy a similar sized house on 40 acres in a rural area, with a barn and large garage for about the same price.
I would still be fairly close to work (about 1.5 hr drive) so I could come in a couple of times a month for those important face time meetings.

Rural living to me would be great. Rural = woodsy area = quiet/hiking/mountain biking/hunting right out my back door.

Re:Looks like a mixed bag (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#33898088)

>Rural living to me would be great. Rural = woodsy area = quiet/hiking/mountain biking/hunting right out my back door

Plenty of rural areas aren't within a thousand miles of anything that can be considered "mountains", and "biking" is regarded as a subversive activity.

Re:Looks like a mixed bag (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#33898076)

The actual article goes into some detail about the tradeoffs, one of which is that moving to the boonies doesn't convey as many cost advantages as some workers expect.

Depends of course on exactly where you move to ;-) From the viewpoint of my own wants and needs, I definitely call $420,000 for a bit more than 4,000 square foot house (1,100 of which is purpose-built office space) on 5 acres, adjacent to and with legal access to an 80 nature conservancy, adjacent to a state park, adjacent to a national forest, in one of the most stunningly beautiful areas in the country, a pretty huge cost advantage.

It's not perfect, housing here usually goes for a bit more than $104/sqft, $150/sqft is more typical--I got this price because the house was bank-owned and empty for 2 years after being owned by complete morons for a couple of years. Definitely needed some sweat equity to make it livable. I get to pay for some maintenance that most of you do not--keeping the well & septic in good shape, and keeping the (1/8th mile long) drive plowed in the winter. And did I mention the chinook winds during the winter?

But you tell me, what does a $2,450/month mortgage get you in the major IT cities: CA, Portland, Chicago, New York, DC/MD/VA?

And yeah it is big. For comparison, I heard my neighbors are paying $800/month to rent a very cute very little house. With more property and a slightly better view than me ;-) What does an $800/month apartment look like in those busy "happening" urban areas?

Some Sign of Hope (4, Interesting)

wdhowellsr (530924) | about 4 years ago | (#33897656)

I am a programmer / analyst in the Orlando area and am starting to see a slight change in contract as well as full time positions. A large pharmaceutical distributor in Lakeland is hiring dozens of .Net developers who will eventually telecommute. Contract at 45 / hr then 85k to 90k full time. There are areas around Lakeland that would make the boondocks look like New York City.

The other thing I am finding is that, while you don't have be a salesperson, having some level of social skills and the ability to work with clients makes a big difference. Unfortunately I know a lot of computer programmers who would sooner stick a red hot poker in their ear than have to deal with clients or management.

Re:Some Sign of Hope (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#33898058)

...I know a lot of computer programmers who would sooner stick a red hot poker in their ear than have to deal with clients or management.

Umm... You rang??

Can be nice (5, Informative)

lotaris (34307) | about 4 years ago | (#33897736)

If you're not tied to the high-density lifestyle, making the change can be nice. I had a 20 year career in Silicon Valley and moved my family to the "boonies". Well, the suburbs of a small city in "flyover territory".

Housing is much cheaper ( 1/3 the cost), don't have the same crime or traffic. Energy is cheaper, groceries a little less. Much less "foot of government" regulation on our backs here. Taxes are comparable (by %).

Where we are, people are generally friendly. An hour to river-rafting or snow skiing, depending on the season. (we have actual seasons). Wide open spaces. Good schools. Surprisingly good food of all kinds.

On second thought, it's horrible here. You wouldn't like it. Trust me. Stay on the coasts.

 

Re:Can be nice (1)

Quiet_Desperation (858215) | about 4 years ago | (#33897824)

we have actual seasons

Never saw that as an advantage. Everyone I know from "season" country has winter horror stories. My sister lived in a Chicago suburb for a few years, and has pins in her leg as a souvenir.

Re:Can be nice (1)

lotaris (34307) | about 4 years ago | (#33897902)

Heh,

We get a few inches of snow that sticks for the day a couple of times during winter. The mountains around us get plenty for skiing.

Re:Can be nice (1)

pablodiazgutierrez (756813) | about 4 years ago | (#33898222)

That's the whole point, to have stories to brag about when it's time to one-up others :).

Re:Can be nice (1)

alen (225700) | about 4 years ago | (#33897946)

i hear people in NJ and NYC burbs have $400 a month heating bills in the winter. gotta love them seasons

Re:Can be nice (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#33898130)

I live VERY northern Michigan and the highest my heating bill has ever been is $225. I've been for 17 years.

Re:Can be nice (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#33898132)

That's because they use heating oil there. Very expensive stuff to be heating a house with. In Anchorage (where I'm from) natural gas is the primary source of winter heating and bills are half that or less. Quite comparable to bills I paid to keep a place cool in the summer in Phoenix.
I imagine a lot of the homes in the NY NJ area are also older and not well insulated.

Re:Can be nice (1)

lotaris (34307) | about 4 years ago | (#33898218)

NJ and NYC have really high energy costs.

Our utilities (gas+electric) vary between $115 and $135. More gas in the winter, more electricity for AC in the summer. This is 1/2 of what we paid to good old PG&E for smaller places.

Re:Can be nice (2, Informative)

tophermeyer (1573841) | about 4 years ago | (#33898254)

That's got a lot to do with really old and poorly insulated houses. I live in Boston, I've had two apartments with oil heat. One came out to $350-$400 a month, one was more like $170 a month. Now I'm on LNG and pay $50/month.

Our seasons out here do suck, don't get me wrong, but a lot of our homes could be more efficiently insulated.

Re:Can be nice (4, Insightful)

boristdog (133725) | about 4 years ago | (#33898208)

On second thought, it's horrible here. You wouldn't like it. Trust me. Stay on the coasts.

Umm...yeah! What he said. It's AWFUL out here living on a little farm and getting to do whatever the hell you want. Why, you have to travel a couple hours to get to a modest-sized city. You city folk would hate it here. Stay where you are.

I did it (5, Interesting)

Combatso (1793216) | about 4 years ago | (#33897828)

When i got in to the workforce, I lived in the city, and worked in the city... as my income grew I decided to get out of the city and make the commute. As the years passed, I grew more and more weary of the drive and decided I would seek work closer to where I was. Then since I no longer had to drive 2 hours each way, I decided to get even more rural. I can't imagine it any other way now, a traffic jam to me is being stuck behind a tractor for 5 minutes on my 20 minute commute.

Being one of a few IT guys in my small town, people are always asking me this or that, and I am able to barter with other local pro's on getting stuff done.

when I first moved out to nowhere, it seemed I was the one guy in town that didnt have a service to offer, now with the introduction of technology to farming, its become quite the resource. From GPS navigated harvesting to PLC controlled feeders and robotic milking machines.. There is a ton of work / money to be made. Sure its not high-finance, but its an essential service and the stress levels are almost nil. With Canada's population density, there is no shortage of rural areas.

is it really cheaper to live in the boonies? (-1, Flamebait)

alen (225700) | about 4 years ago | (#33897846)

everything is farther away which means you need 2 cars instead of 1 or 0. you drive more miles so you buy more gas and spend more on maintenance or buy a new car faster with less trade in value.
taxes are less than in places like NYC, but you have to pay for everything that taxes pay in NYC. things like garbage pickup.
visiting people who live close to the boonies i've noticed that food is more expensive since you have to truck it farther to the store.

then there are the little things like schools tend to suck in the boonies compared to the big cities and their suburbs. if you care about your kids being in the top 10% of earners then NYC, NoVa or a few other places are the ones to go for schools.
there are no starbucks or whole foods markets in the boonies. only crappy mass produced crap.
nothing to do other than stay home all day when you're not working
crappy internet access
crappy medical care. big cities have the good hospitals and doctors

Re:is it really cheaper to live in the boonies? (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#33897900)

A sky full of stars an grass under your feet makes it all worth it, whatever the cost.

Boonies can be relative (1)

lotaris (34307) | about 4 years ago | (#33898086)

It is quite possible to work onshore in the outskirts of a small city in "flyover country". Still the "Boonies" to someone currently in SF, Seattle, Boston, NY.

We drive many fewer miles than we did in the SF Bay Area. We had to drive to get to: groceries, park for the kids, YMCA, church, work, friends

Here we drive for work (20 minutes), groceries (10 minutes) and to the Y (5 minutes). Our gas budget is 1/2 what it was.

We have starbucks, vastly better schools (on average) than any of the big cities. No "whole foods", but we do have co-ops, real farmer's markets and "natural" food stores.

I do pay $50/month for 10meg down/1 meg up internet which suffices for me.

Two large hospitals within a 20 minute drive and an uncrowded ER 6 minutes from our house (driving the speed limit).

 

Re:is it really cheaper to live in the boonies? (1)

dbc (135354) | about 4 years ago | (#33898100)

Yes, it is cheaper, but that is mainly your housing costs and taxes. I grew up the the boonies, I live in Sili Valley. There is a reason for that -- if I moved back home I would go nuts from lack of techie people to talk to. But I would save big on housing and taxes. And I would love having some space for a workshop. Downside, I'd have to get re-acquainted with snow blowers. I've lived in the boonies, I could live in the boonies again, but for me the ability to find interesting people around every corner makes the misery and hassles of suburban life a fair trade off.

Re:is it really cheaper to live in the boonies? (2, Interesting)

Notquitecajun (1073646) | about 4 years ago | (#33898228)

No, you CAN have 2 cars instead of 1 because you have room to park them. You may use more gas, but I've noticed that it can be cheaper in the countryside - a major nonfactor. You also may have less maintenance - less start and stop traffic, and no road-salting like in the big northern cities, which degrades the undercarriage.

Taxes are less across the board, and I have a choice and the responsibility on where my money goes. My local politicians also tend to at least be a little more reliable and aren't the big spenders that the cities have.

Food? Whatever. It's not that much more expensive, and I have better access to the fresh stuff.

Schools suck everywhere. That's a function of parenting and teachers, not money. DC throws more money at schools than anywhere else and they continue to be terrible.

Starbucks? Who needs that? I brew my own - better - for far less a cup. Don't need Whole Foods. Lived decently without it so far.

It's not so bad staying home all day when you actually like where you live and aren't cramped up by all the noise and smog and people.

Internet? It gets better every year. Also lived without it for a while.

Somewhat healthier in the boonies - cleaner environment overall. Less stress. Nicer people.

Re:is it really cheaper to live in the boonies? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#33898266)

> there are no starbucks ... only crappy mass produced crap.

[my head asplode]

Big Bang Theory? (1)

tenco (773732) | about 4 years ago | (#33897870)

WTH does it have to do with anything mentioned in that post?

Re:Big Bang Theory? (1)

Tekfactory (937086) | about 4 years ago | (#33898382)

Since Green Acres was a television show, I naturally assumed they were referring to the Big Bang Theory a CBS comedy about some science geeks living in California with a neighbor from Nebraska.

They make Star Trek jokes, comic book jokes, they've had Wil Weaton on the show twice.

The core of the show is stereotypical shutin intellectuals in akward social situations.

The writers say they consult with real scientists on the math/science stuff they do in the show. Its funny, I've been watching it since it began, some times its patronizing, but if we can't laugh at ourselves or stereotypes of ourselves then we have worse problems.

One of the actors just was nominated for an Emmy for his role on the show.

http://www.cbs.com/primetime/big_bang_theory/ [cbs.com]

It also got the highest residual deals for its syndicated reruns of any TV show ever.

What does this have to do with TFA? Well I guess they are saying you wouldn't be as bad off in the boonies as these guys on the show are in Southern California.

Not a new concept (4, Insightful)

LoudMusic (199347) | about 4 years ago | (#33897892)

"Going rural" isn't really a new concept. For decades now anyone that's been willing to work in an area that few people are willing to work in can usually get the job pretty easily. My wife's medical class talked frequently about who was going to go work in the farming communities and make 'the big bucks' doing what no one else was willing to do. Sure you're fairly isolated from your typical peers, but those people are genuine and attempting to do real work to provide for their families. Supporting their medical, technological, mechanical, whatever, needs has to be more rewarding than supporting the bulk of urbanites who just want to get paid while they surf their favorite forum / news aggregate and wait to slowly die.

And in many fields you get paid more in remote areas as well, due to the lack of people willing to head out there.

Re:Not a new concept (1)

KshGoddess (454304) | about 4 years ago | (#33898184)

My last employer "outsourced" to rural SC and CO for its call center. I've known people who work from home for a large company doing phone support. This isn't news. This is /.

slashdot category for this kind of article (2, Insightful)

emandems (1784294) | about 4 years ago | (#33897938)

Can we get a new category for articles like these; "labor" or "work" for example. This is classified business, money, and IT, which are fine, but it's about a fairly specific aspect that probably matters to a lot of readers, I'd like to be able to search on it.

Come to the midwest (1)

kaaona (252061) | about 4 years ago | (#33898044)

A year ago there were no IT jobs anywhere but the Washington DC metro. Yesterday a recruiter in Boston told me both coasts have recovered, but they're having real trouble finding qualified secure system engineers to fill jobs in the midwest.

Wyoming. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#33898148)

We have a medium sized data center in wyoming and are working to build a large one. We cannot find qualified staff, no one will take the lower pay (no state income tax) or even move up here, it is a serious problem.

dow jones in pissing match with rest of world (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#33898150)

sending/spending even more of our dwindling resources overseas. guess whois not broke?

the corepirate nazi holycost is increasing by the minute. you call this 'weather'?

continue to add immeasurable amounts of MISinformation, rhetoric & fluff, & there you have IT? that's US? thou shalt not... oh forget it. fake weather (censored?), fake money, fake god(s), what's next? seeing as we (have been told that) came from monkeys, the only possible clue we would have to anything being out of order, we would get from the weather. that, & all the monkeys tipping over/exploding around US.
the search continues;
google.com/search?hl=en&source=hp&q=weather+manipulation

google.com/search?hl=en&source=hp&q=bush+cheney+wolfowitz+rumsfeld+wmd+oil+freemason+blair+obama+weather+authors

meanwhile (as it may take a while longer to finish wrecking this place); the corepirate nazi illuminati (remember, (we have been told) we came from monkeys, & 'they' believe they DIDN'T), continues to demand that we learn to live on less/nothing while they continue to consume/waste/destroy immeasurable amounts of stuff/life, & feast on nubile virgins while worshipping themselves (& evile in general (baal to be exact)). they're always hunting that patch of red on almost everyones' neck. if they cannot find yours (greed, fear ego etc...) then you can go starve. that's their (slippery/slimy) 'platform' now. see also: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Antisocial_personality_disorder

never a better time to consult with/trust in our creators. the lights are coming up rapidly all over now. see you there?

greed, fear & ego (in any order) are unprecedented evile's primary weapons. those, along with deception & coercion, helps most of us remain (unwittingly?) dependent on its' life0cidal hired goons' agenda. most of our dwindling resources are being squandered on the 'wars', & continuation of the billionerrors stock markup FraUD/pyramid schemes. nobody ever mentions the real long term costs of those debacles in both life & any notion of prosperity for us, or our children. not to mention the abuse of the consciences of those of us who still have one, & the terminal damage to our atmosphere/planet (see also: manufactured 'weather', hot etc...). see you on the other side of it? the lights are coming up all over now. the fairytail is winding down now. let your conscience be your guide. you can be more helpful than you might have imagined. we now have some choices. meanwhile; don't forget to get a little more oxygen on your brain, & look up in the sky from time to time, starting early in the day. there's lots going on up there.

"The current rate of extinction is around 10 to 100 times the usual background level, and has been elevated above the background level since the Pleistocene. The current extinction rate is more rapid than in any other extinction event in earth history, and 50% of species could be extinct by the end of this century. While the role of humans is unclear in the longer-term extinction pattern, it is clear that factors such as deforestation, habitat destruction, hunting, the introduction of non-native species, pollution and climate change have reduced biodiversity profoundly.' (wiki)

"I think the bottom line is, what kind of a world do you want to leave for your children," Andrew Smith, a professor in the Arizona State University School of Life Sciences, said in a telephone interview. "How impoverished we would be if we lost 25 percent of the world's mammals," said Smith, one of more than 100 co-authors of the report. "Within our lifetime hundreds of species could be lost as a result of our own actions, a frightening sign of what is happening to the ecosystems where they live," added Julia Marton-Lefevre, IUCN director general. "We must now set clear targets for the future to reverse this trend to ensure that our enduring legacy is not to wipe out many of our closest relatives."--

"The wealth of the universe is for me. Every thing is explicable and practical for me .... I am defeated all the time; yet to victory I am born." --emerson

no need to confuse 'religion' with being a spiritual being. our soul purpose here is to care for one another. failing that, we're simply passing through (excess baggage) being distracted/consumed by the guaranteed to fail illusionary trappings of man'kind'. & recently (about 10,000 years ago) it was determined that hoarding & excess by a few, resulted in negative consequences for all.

consult with/trust in your creators. providing more than enough of everything for everyone (without any distracting/spiritdead personal gain motives), whilst badtolling unprecedented evile, using an unlimited supply of newclear power, since/until forever. see you there?

all the manuals say we're not to kill each other, & we're mandated to care for/about one another, before any other notion will succeed. one does not need to agree whois 'in charge' to grasp the possibility that there may be some assistance available to us, including from each other. there's also the question of frequent extreme 'distractions' preventing us from following the simple 'directions' we were given, along with everything we needed to accomplish our task. see you there?
boeing, boeing, gone.

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